You’re ALWAYS “Rebuilding Rome”

Hey friends! It’s been a minute. My last update on “Rebuilding Rome” was after my “Week 8 Progress Report” in late February and then I kind of went M.I.A. on everyone. Sorry about that; life got in the way. However, I’ve kept working on myself and this post will kind of update you on all of my progress and will tie a bow on any loose ends.

So, my last update was on February 26, 2018. And now, it’s August 2, 2018. It’s been just over five months. A lot has changed. So, basically, I stopped updating the blog because in February I figured out I needed another surgery for a hernia I had developed and I was kind of disappointed. Another speed bump. Though I was only really out of commission for a week, it still discouraged me. But, really…taking time away from this blog was probably a good decision for a little bit.

I made a lot of positive changes in my life since February. I got really motivated to make changes in my career and I started reaching out to connections I had and not all of them were positive. One gentleman even told me that I was “largely unfocused” and that I had wasted 15 minutes of his life. I decided after that call to talk with a career advisor and tell him what I wanted to accomplish and I was having trouble figuring out the “how.” How do I get there? Luckily, I have taken four different career-personality tests including the MBTI and the Strong Interest Inventory. Basically, I can’t be behind the desk. I thrive in team environments and I want work in an upbeat environment and helping people. Working with a team to reach a common goal…that’s my jam. As I’ve mentioned previously, I was a huge high school athlete and so I really think coaching could be in my future. So, I reached out to my brother’s high school football coach and now I’m going to coach JV Football this upcoming fall at his high school. Additionally, I’ve shadowed a personal trainer and I plan on shadowing a general manager of a fitness center and an athletic director of a high school. Frankly, I think it would be awesome to work in an athletic department either in a high school or a college and coach 1-2 sports. Helping mold young men through sports just feels like it could be that perfect fit and I could really gain that value and meaning I’ve been searching for.

Physically, I feel pretty great. I’m eating intuitively now and not experiencing major cravings for sweets like I was in January through March. I’ve also been having amazing workouts and it is showing IN THE MIRROR. I went on a college visit trip with my brother and father in early April. During that time, I started to really accept who I am as a person. I remember coming home and I looked myself in the mirror both physically and mentally and I said, “This is who you are. And, I’m okay with that.” It took a long time for that self-acceptance. I had just always been focused on not being good enough or always improving, but I was finally at peace with myself both mentally and physically. The only physical flaw that still needs to be dealt with is my nagging and chronic neck pain that I am still working on getting a solution to. So, eventually I’ll update you all on that.

The "After"
Happy and healthy

But, it’s funny how things all come together when you are finally content and proud and comfortable with yourself. When you’re self-accepting and sure of yourself, it seems other people start to take notice…and want to be a part of it. My personal life has seen an uptick as I have met some pretty amazing people and I’m doing more of what I enjoy doing. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that all of this has happened when I was doing things that I enjoy doing and at a time where I was very accepting of myself. I think the saying; “your vibe attracts your tribe” is very accurate.

Obviously, since February, other things have changed. I’ve got a new look, I’m buying a new car, I’ve started to read books for pleasure and to further better myself, and I’ll be taking the GRE soon. Everything is positive and I have “Rebuilding Rome” to thank for kick-starting me in the right direction.

However, things aren’t perfect. I’m pretty frustrated that there is still no diagnosis for my neck injury. I still enjoy my job, but I do really desire to have a greater sense of purpose within my community. And, though I am happy where I am at in my personal life, I do need to do a better job with honestly communicating my feelings and what I want. The message here is that nothing is ever perfect. In a way, you are always “Rebuilding Rome” and once you hit whatever goal you set, it doesn’t mean to stop. Set new goals. Don’t get complacent. We will never run out of problems. Rather, new (and often less awful) problems will arise that we need to solve. I’ll be stopping by on here occasionally to update on both fitness thoughts and some inspiring mental health thoughts…as well as some of my own happenings. I eventually want this blog to evolve into something a bit more vulnerable and personal because that’s really what I want to get into in my future career and that’s when I feel like I tell the stories that people love and relate to most (see, “Finding Your Motivation.”) Anyway, that’s all for now. Keep on rebuilding. ‘Till next time…

Week 8 Progress Report

Hey friends, thanks for checking in with me for the Week 8 Progress Report. I have weighed in this week at 164.8 pounds and so I am down 0.2 pounds since last week. That doesn’t sound like a ton of progress, but considering that I seriously went off the wagon in the middle of the week on desserts, I’m pretty ecstatic that there was any loss at all. I’m determined to stay more focused on my goal, especially now that there is only four weeks to go.

The reason you always hear, “the last five pounds are the toughest to lose,” is because as you lose the weight, you have to work harder in your workouts to burn the same amount of calories and the way to lose weight is to make sure you are regularly in a calorie deficit. So, making sure you eat correctly and at the correct times combined with getting in a sufficient workout can get harder because you workout longer, therefore working harder to burn the same amount of calories, yet intaking the same amount of food. It’s a difficult concept, but one you have to stick to. I cannot wait to get to the point of just maintaining. But, I’ve got to earn it.

Thanks for checking in with me for the Week 8 Progress Report on Rebuilding Rome, I will see you all next week!

Week 7 Progress Report

Hey everybody, thanks for checking in for the Week 7 Progress Report and some pleasantly surprising progress was made this week. After having a rough week mentally with sticking with my positive eating habit changes, Thursday was a turning point. This week was not easy to get through, but I’ve come too far and invested too much in myself to let it be all for nothing.

This morning I weighed in at 165 pounds even, meaning I have exactly five pounds left to lose to reach my goal weight by April 2nd. Additionally, I’ve got five weeks left to reach that goal…which means I have to lose a pound a week from here on out. Very manageable.

Quickly, I updated the “Actually Rebuilding Rome” post and it now has a YouTube video that covers my weight lifting workout in order, so check that out if your heart so desires.

As for this week’s post, I’m going to be covering leg day…and tequila. Nope, that’s not a typo. Just look out for the post later this week!

One final note is that Rebuilding Rome is no longer on Snapchat or Twitter. I decided to make those profiles personal profiles, as it seems I’m gaining a nice little following on Instagram for Rebuilding Rome. If you want to connect with me on Snapchat, my handle is cal_beneze. And if you want to connect with me on Twitter, my handle is @calsrandomthots.

That’s all for the Week 7 Progress Report. Thanks for checking in!

Week 6 Progress Report

Hey everyone, thanks for checking in with me for my Week 6 Progress report.

So, for the first time since Rebuilding Rome went live, I have actually gained weight since last week. I went from 165.6 pounds last Monday to 166.8 pounds this Monday. I’m not overly worried. Peaks and valleys are normal in a weight-loss journey. Yeah, I’m up a little more than a pound, but it’s important to know why. Well, it’s probably because I did back-to-back “My Nights” from my BistroMD plan (which is probably not the recommended way to use your “My Nights” from BistroMD.) But, you have to live your life. It was Super Bowl Sunday last Sunday and then on Monday one of my best friends was in town and we went to an amazing steakhouse called “Angus Barn” in Raleigh, NC. If you’re ever in the Raleigh area and you have some monies to spend, this is THE place to go for dinner.

I’m at the halfway mark and I’m looking forward to crushing my goal. Nothing worth doing ever comes easy.

Keep a lookout for the casein protein bar and smoothie recipes that I’m going to make THIS WEEK!

Thanks for checking in and have a great week!

Week 5 Progress Report

Hey everyone, thanks for checking in here on “Rebuilding Rome” for the Week 5 Progress Report. Progress is continuing to be made as I am down to 165.6 pounds. Happy to still be progressing. Also, since this was my first post in the month of February, I thought it’d be a good time to see the change on my body fat percentage and my body mass index (BMI). I am now at 12.3% body fat, which I am extremely happy with and I am at 25.2 on the BMI scale which puts me 0.2 over into the overweight category. I don’t get worked up too much about BMI, so I’m not overly concerned. Just have to keep eating right and exercising regularly.
week_5_fat_loss
Make sure to check-in this week as I’ll be posting what goes into my weekly workouts as well as my (fingers crossed) casein protein bar and smoothie recipes. Thanks for stopping by “Rebuilding Rome” and have a good one!

Week 4 Progress Report

Hey everyone, thanks for checking in here on “Rebuilding Rome” for the Week 4 Progress Report. Things are going great as I am down to 167 pounds. So, I only have seven pounds left to lose to reach my goal weight with still a few days left in January. I’m very encouraged by everyone’s support. I really want to make “Rebuilding Rome” great for you all, so anything you want to see or hear…I’m all ears. I want to make this a great experience for everyone, not just me!

This week’s blog posts are going to be a lot of fun. I’ll be doing a video making homemade casein protein bars and shakes for those late night cravings. Additionally, keep an eye out for a post about what it is exactly I’m doing on a weekly basis in terms of my workouts.

Have a great week everyone, thanks for checking in with “Rebuilding Rome!”

Finding Your Motivation

challenge_accepted

So, this is a post idea that I’ve had for a while. I feel like everyone has those times whether they’re in the gym struggling to finish a workout or they see that donut in the break room that looks oh so tempting. Either way, when you feel a moment of weakness or feeling like you can’t do it anymore, remind yourself of why you started.

I want to state this first and foremost. You should want to be making healthy lifestyle changes FOR YOU. It sounds cliche, but the practice of self-love and being happy with who you are is most important. As I’ve stated over and over again, this is NOT ABOUT RESTRICTION, IT IS ABOUT MODERATION. We all get that great feeling when we work hard and see results because our hard work and our discipline paid off. But anyone who has made the kind of lifestyle change that I’m in the process making knows that everyday wasn’t so easy. There were some days that you wanted to quit, to stop…to go back to the person who was saying, “this was the year you were going to make changes.” So, sometimes, doing everything for you isn’t enough. Whatever that extra external motivating factor is can help you push through on your weaker days. What gets you out of bed early in the morning? What’s your 11 out of 10 that makes you get your feet on the ground and go out and do something? For Tom Brady, it’s the fact that 198 players were taken ahead of him in the 2000 NFL Draft. For me, a couple of times, it’s been women.

Before you read on, please watch the video above. In fact, if you decide never to take in any information from this blog ever again, at least watch the video. A friend shared it with me a little over a year ago and from time to time I watch it sometimes as a reminder, sometimes for entertainment…and sometimes to show a friend who needs to see it.

When I came home from my freshman year in college, my mom politely told me I had gained too much weight by saying, “you have the body of a 25 year-old.” Sure, plenty of 25 year-olds have amazing bodies, (and this 26 year-old aims to get to that point) but I knew what she meant. And I needed her words. I wanted her words. It wasn’t malicious, it was tough love and I understood. That day, June 5, 2011, I went and joined a gym and by the end of the summer I had lost 20 pounds.

So, you might be asking yourself, “why did Cal include this clip from ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ in this post?” First off, “Crazy, Stupid, Love” is in my top two for favorite movies and anyone who has never seen it should watch it. Second, I first watched this movie coming home on an airplane from my sophomore year of college. I was still in good shape, and towards the end of my spring semester, I started dating this girl. Let’s call her “Jodie.” To preface this, Jodie is not her actual name and Jodie and I are good friends to this day. She reads “Rebuilding Rome” and we’ve already discussed everything I’m about to talk about.

I first saw Jodie going home from the fall semester in 2011. We were at the same gate heading to Boston, Massachusetts. I saw her “Dancing Devils backpack and her headphones in her ears and the huge “f-off sign” she had on her forehead. I was hoping we would somehow sit next to each other on the plane. Of course, that didn’t happen. When it came time to return the Tempe, Arizona for school, this girl was once again at my gate. I saw this as a sign of fate. Once again, though, she wasn’t sitting next to me on the plane. Determined, I made an effort in baggage claim to just say SOMETHING to this girl. So, luckily, my checked bag came out first and I purposely let it pass her. I bumped into her and said “sorry” as I reached for my bag. She said, “it’s okay.” And off I went. At that point, I figured, I’d never see this girl again.

Fast forward two months later and it’s a Sunday evening and I’ve just come out of the campus convenience store with a protein shake. I was crossing the street to my apartment complex and I hear a group of girls talking loudly behind me. Naturally curious, I looked behind me and it was Jodie. I thought to myself, “I’ve run into this girl too many times for it to be a coincidence, the universe is telling me something here.” So, I pretended like she had a Boston accent (she doesn’t) and I turned around and I asked, “are one of you from Massachusetts?” Jodie enthusiastically raised her hand and proclaimed, “me!” I introduced myself and got her first name. Somehow, with her first name, her college, and where she was from…I was able to find her on Facebook. I messaged her and we set-up a date.

Things went well with Jodie and myself for a little while. I liked her and she liked me. But, at the time, we wanted completely different things from each other and that’s why we crashed and burned after about a month. I’m not going to get into all of the details, but there was a bad night, there were feelings hurt, there was an exchange of clothes, and there was about a 90 minute closure conversation about a week before the semester was done. I went home on a flight, and “Crazy, Stupid, Love” was on the in-flight movie. The father and son’s names were Cal and Robbie. My dad is Robbie and I am Cal. So, the scene I attached above hit super close to home, especially with the ending of myself and Jodie being so fresh. I felt like fate had meant for me to see that movie and see that scene at that time of my life. The quote that hits hardest for me is, “…and I promise you this, too, Cal. When we’re done. This wife of yours, she’s gonna rue the day she ever decided to give up on you.” Now, Jodie was not my wife, not anywhere close. She was a college fling. But, I was hurt and I was young and I was looking for motivation. It was that scene in that moment way up in the sky that I decided that summer was not going to be a fun one. I was going to work golf course maintenance everyday, waking up at 4:00 AM and working till 2:00 PM and then I was going to go to the gym after that. Everyday. There would be no days off. I swore off girls. I swore off everybody. She was going to rue the day she ever decided to give up on me. That was my mission. And it worked.

Before I go any further, I want to say that my last couple of sentences were not a healthy mindset. I was not clearheaded. You should take days off. You should have an outside life. I had a miserable summer. I worked so hard on myself physically that I broke down emotionally in the middle of the summer. Don’t get me wrong, I had other motivators too. I had a tryout with the Arizona State University football team that I was training for and used that as my reason for working so hard to outsiders who I didn’t want to know my true reason for being so dedicated.

Over the years, Jodie and I dated briefly on and off. I always came back to see if she had changed, and she always came back…for reasons I still do not know to this day. There was a day years later when she asked me, “Do you remember that day we were moving into the same apartment complex and I saw you and I was on the phone with my mom?” This was after my summer from hell. I said, “yeah.” Jodie replied, “do you remember where I told her I had to go and I hung up the phone to say hi?” I replied, “yeah.” Jodie then paused and said something to the effect of, “well when I saw you, I looked at you and thought, ‘damn.'” That was the exact thought I wanted her to have when I left school the previous semester. A few years later, Jodie moved back to Massachusetts and I, at the time, lived in Arizona. She was in Arizona for a week visiting friends and she reached out and told me she wanted to hangout. There was one evening where we were hanging out and she looked at me and asked, “What do you think we would be if we lived in the same area? Do you think we’d be together?” I gave Jodie a long look and I gave her an answer she didn’t want to hear and I didn’t want to say. I replied, “If I look at it, at the end of the day…I don’t see us ending up together for the long haul.” It broke my heart to say that. What hurt even worse was her reply. Jodie said, “I don’t feel the same.” Four years later and I accomplished the goal I set out to. Though, it didn’t feel like an accomplishment. I wanted her to rue the day…back then. I cared about this girl now. I learned so much about myself through my ups and downs with her. That was the last time I saw Jodie. She and I still communicate regularly.

So, that’s one story I have about finding your own personal motivation. I have more and I will feature another one at some point here on “Rebuilding Rome.” Be sure to check out the page tomorrow as I give my Week 4 Progress Report and give you the inside scoop on next week’s posts. Happy Sunday!